'We must end Covid-19 in 2022', says WHO chief; explains how
The Omicron variant of coronavirus has once again brought fears to the hearts of people around the world heading for the holiday season. This is the second consecutive year that Christmas holidays will be held in the shadow of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
But the World Health Organization (WHO) said the governments across the world should work towards ending the pandemic. "2022 must be the year we end the pandemic," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a media briefing on Tuesday.
"If we are to end the pandemic in the coming year, we must end inequity, by ensuring 70 per cent of the population of every country is vaccinated by the middle of next year," he added.
"Last week, WHO issued Emergency Use Listing for a ninth vaccine, produced by the Serum Institute of India under license from Novavax. This new vaccine is part of the COVAX portfolio, and we hope that it will play an important role in achieving our global vaccination targets," the WHO chief added further.
Tedros, however, painted a grim picture saying that a pall of gloom has descended on the world because of Covid-19.
He said that that more than 3.3 million people have lost their lives to the pandemic this year - more deaths than from HIV, malaria and tuberculosis combined in 2020, and still continues to claim around 50,000 lives every week.
"That's not to mention the unreported deaths, and the millions of excess deaths caused by disruptions to essential health services," the WHO chief added.
The ferocity with which Covid-19 is spreading once again has been attributed to the Omicron variant, which was first detected in South Africa on November 24 and has spread to more than 100 countries since then.
"There is now consistent evidence that Omicron is spreading significantly faster than the Delta variant. And it is more likely that people who have been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 could be infected or reinfected," said Tedros.
From reporting its lowest number of cases in 18 months, Africa recorded fourth-largest number of cases in a single week, said the WHO chief.
The small plane of a local airline with 22 people on board, including four Indians, that went missing earlier in the day was found at Kowang in Mustang. The Twin Otter 9N-AET plane belonging to Nepal's Tara Air took off at 10.15am from Pokhara, and lost contact with the control tower 15 minutes later, according to an airline spokesperson.
Ashok Kumar Tripathi, Dhanush Tripathi, Ritika Tripathi and Vaibhawi Tripathi - four members of a family from Mumbai - are among 22 people onboard a small plane the Twin Otter 9N-AET belonging to Nepal's Tara Air that went missing on Sunday in the mountainous region of the Himalayan nation minutes after taking off from the tourist city of Pokhara, reports suggest. Crew members: Captain Prabhakar Ghimire, co-pilot Utsav Pokharel and air hostess Kismi Thapa.
A Nepal Tara Airlines plane flying from Pokhara to Jomson went missing Sunday. 22 people were on board, including four Indians and two Germans. Air traffic control lost contact with the plane 15 minutes after it took off from Pokhara. The Indian embassy in Nepal has said officials are in touch with the families of four people from Mumbai who were on board the aircraft.
Israeli police faced off with Palestinians holed up inside Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque on Sunday as hundreds of Jews visited the holy compound ahead of a contentious Jewish nationalist march through the heart of the Old City. Palestinian factions have warned that the flag-waving parade through the city's Muslim quarter could re-ignite their decades-old conflict with Israelis. Tensions have been rising in the city for weeks. Other Jews were later seen holding up Israeli flags.
Rescuers in Indonesia were searching for 25 people who were missing after a cargo boat sank in the Makassar Strait in South Sulawesi province, officials said Sunday. Like many Indonesians, Djunaidi, the head of the provincial search and rescue agency goes by only one name. Also read: US intel helped Ukraine locate and sink Russian warship: Report Seventeen people were later rescued, including some by two tugboats that were at sea at the time of the incident.